The statement on gender by the United Grand Lodge of England, which is considered by many the premier Grand Lodge in the world, and whose
dictates shape those of most other Grand Lodges around the world, has come as a shock to most. In the blog this month are two links to this
statement - one to Freemasonry Today, and one to a more middle eastern source. However, you may have read the UGLE statement on page 34
of in the September Issue of the New Zealand Freemason.
It is hard to say what Grand Lodges around the world will do to remain regular. There are several Grand Lodges which do not follow the norm
regarding race, religion and colour, but who are still recognised as regular by UGLE.
One can understand the necessity of the gender statement from them - they must obey the law of the land, their land. Our grand Lodge of New
Zealand must be looking at how our laws differ, and whether we should follow the English lead. Personally I have no position, save to ask where
the genetic female is in this situation. .
For New Zealand freemasons, we will in future have to welcome visitors from UGLE of whatever gender they deem admissable, so our leaders had
better prepare their brethren for the eventuality.
However, what about admitting everyone who meets our requirements, including the fair sex. This month’s Masonic Article is on the history of
Women in Freemasonry. And I conclude this Topic by extraction the summary from a 1999 article named "The Feminist Invasion" by W.Bro.Rev.
E. Wyatt in 1999..printed in their notice paper - UML vol32 no.08, p114-5
........ PROBLEMS WHICH MUST BE FACED!
From his catalogue of these I can only make a selection, otherwise this paper would run to an inordinate length. I select, then, the problem of
the exclusion of women.
(1) Are we justified in excluding women? Women have, as a matter of fact, already stormed our fortress in practically every quarter of the world -
though, we are accustomed to be silent on the subject and ignore them. The Grand Orient has formally recognized them. We call their Lodges
'clandestine' but it is difficult to define this epithet in any other way than as denoting a Lodge not in friendly relations with the particular Grand
Lodge to which we ourselves owe allegiance. In 1921, formal application for recognition was made by a Co-Masonic Grand Lodge to the Grand
Lodge of England. The application was rejected, as we know - but there were those who voted favour of it.
What are the objections commonly urged against the acknowledgment of women as 'fit and proper persons?' (a) That they never have been
admitted. Waiving the reply that this is not quite correct as a matter of history, a suitable rejoinder might be made that the working classes at
one time had not the parliamentary franchise, while today it is their absolute right. And similarly, women are rapidly receiving the same privilege
of the suffrage, in one country after another. (1)) But there is the danger of improprieties. The feminist answer to this is surely easy. There is
exactly the same danger in countless other associations of the sexes; - and we get occasional disclosures of the misdoings of ministers of
religion, choir women, and Sunday School teachers. Will it be argued that therefore we should have separate churches for the sexes? (I think I
know which would be empty)
The truth is, within the next few years this serious problem will have to be faced.
The Feminist is knocking at the door. We shall not be prudent if we ignore the demand.
We shall not be exhibiting temperance of action if we refuse to discuss the claim; nor fortitude if we runaway from a situation bristling with
difficulties; nor justice if we give an adverse decision without giving reasons.
As a parting shot, the Feminist asks, 'If a woman is good enough to be our mother or our wife, can she be less worthy to be a - well, a 'sister.' I
suppose. What is the answer'?
I do not want to admit women; but I have not succeeded in finding an apt reply to that question.
With this last extract from the considered opinions of a distinguished masonic writer, I bring to a close the task which I set before myself. To
condense a volume of over 200 pages into a few pages of manuscript is not as easy as they might suppose who have never attempted it; the
result of one's effort is apt to be either too dull to be listened to or too sketchy to be useful. I have, of necessity, left out much, but I have tried to
exhibit, on some of our vexed questions, something of the mind of a writer who seems to me to be clear in his statements, balanced in his
judgments, and sincere in his motives.
SOURCE: Feminist Invasion UML Vol32n08 P114-p115
Note: We have a problem Wellington. Ed.